This 29-Year-Old Activist Is Speaking Out to Protect Black Transgender Women

This 29-Year-Old Activist Is Speaking Out to Protect Black Transgender Women

Raquel Willis was already a well-known name for her work highlighting issues in the Black trans community and spreading the message via online channels. But her powerful speech at the Black Liberation event in June dramatically elevated her profile as a leader in the space.

The 29-year-old activist connected with the crowd of thousands in Brooklyn, leading them in a chant of “I believe in Black trans power,” in a powerful moment that rippled across online platforms. “It was really heartening to see people gravitate to what I was saying in that moment about how Black trans people have so much to offer to the world,” she says, noting that her work has focused on “honoring their dignity and power.”

Among Willis’s many credentials, she built the Black Trans Circles program at the Transgender Law Center, which helps build spaces where Black trans women can heal and support each other if they experience violence and discrimination. She was also the executive editor at Out Magazine, where she published the Trans Obituaries Project to elevate transgender women of color who lost their lives. The project won a GLAAD Media award.

“I don’t think that project would have had the same impact without having a digital component,” Willis says. “There is such a wider audience that you can touch through a digital space.”

For Willis, social media is the key to elevating the voices in the Black trans community, and promoting the vision of the world she wants to see. “It kind of democratizes the experience of sharing your story,” she says. “It’s key to us being fully seen in our society.”

Source : Jana Lerner Link

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